There are several signs your baby is ready for solid foods and knowing what they are can really help you decide if it’s time to grab some and get started on the road to solid foods. Most pediatricians recommend offering that first bite of baby food sometime between four and six months of age. Babies are all different, so understanding the cues of readiness is a valuable way for moms and dads to decide when the time is right. Take a read of these signs your baby is ready for solid foods and get ready to be on the lookout for this milestone in your little one’s life.
As I mentioned above, most babies are ready for solid foods between four and six months of age, which is one of hallmark signs your baby is ready for solid foods. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently changed its guidelines and now advises parents to exclusively breast or formula feed for the first six months. That’s because a baby’s digestion isn’t mature when he’s born and some little ones can’t handle the introduction of solids at such a young age. The best thing to do is talk to your baby’s doctor and work out together when he’s ready.
2. Head Control
As you know, a baby isn’t equipped to hold her head up when she’s born. That takes some time as she builds and develops the muscles in her neck. It’s not a good idea to introduce solids before your little one has a good amount of head control because it can increase the risk of choking. Once your baby can hold her own head upright, she might be ready for a taste of solid food.
3. Loss of the Extrusion Reflex
The extrusion reflex causes a baby to push something in his mouth out with his tongue. That instinct tends to diminish around four months of age, so watch for it to disappear. Before it does, chances are that any solids you offer your baby are going to come right back out. You can test this by putting a small, empty spoon in his mouth and watching what happens. If his tongue pushes it back out, it’s a good idea to hold off on solid foods. Wait a couple of weeks, then try again.
My kids have always been avid eaters and one of the ways I began to realize they were ready for solids was when they started watching my husband and I very closely when we ate. If your baby is suddenly watching you move food from your plate to your mouth, she might be ready to give it a try herself.
5. Weight Gain
Some experts recommend waiting to start solid foods until your baby has at least doubled his birth weight. That means if he was born just under eight pounds, you should wait until he’s close to sixteen pounds to start solid foods. Of course, this is just a guideline. My kids were slow growers and didn’t put weight on as quickly as the average baby. On the other hand, some kids chunk out quickly, but still might not be ready for solids. Use this clue in conjunction with the others rather than on its own.
6. Bigger Appetite
For the last six months or so, your little one has been perfectly satisfied with a bottle or nursing session several times per day. If she suddenly seems ravenous all the time, that’s a pretty good indication that she needs more food to satisfy her appetite. This is likely a good time to stock up on baby food and get started expanding her palate.
7. Sitting up
You can’t really offer a baby that isn’t sitting up a spoonful of food. It will probably just go everywhere and it increases the risk of choking. Your baby doesn’t have to be able to sit for long periods of time on his own, but he probably isn’t ready for solids if he immediately slumps over when you put him in the highchair.
How did you know your baby was ready for solids? What was the first food you offered?